Bragging Is What Presenters Need To Be Able To Do Well

by drjim on June 30, 2009

Presenters Need To Learn How To Use Bragging To Establish Their Creditability

Presenters Need To Learn How To Use Bragging To Establish Their Creditability

Just in case you’ve forgotten it, the #1 question on the minds of any audience that is seated and waiting for you to begin talking to them is “Why should I even bother listening to you?“. This means that in order for you to have any hope of making an impact on this  audience, you’re going to have to answer this question right off the bat. But how?

The Art Of The Brag

I’m afraid that we’re going to have to talk about the “C” word – “credibility“. As a presenter, it’s your job to establish your credibility in the minds of your audience. This is where bragging comes in.

John Spaith has spent some time thinking about how to do this correctly and he’s got some good suggestions. Spaith points out that you always have competition when you give a presentation. This doesn’t mean that you have to deal with other speakers (although sometimes you do), but rather your audience has a lot of other things on their mind and if you don’t grab their attention and hold it by establishing your credibility, then they won’t pay attention to what you have to say.

A Plan For Self-Promotion (Bragging)

The best way to establish credibility with your audience is to have the person who is introducing you do it for you. However, for a variety of reasons this may not always be possible. When you find yourself in situations like this, you need to do your bragging yourself. Here’s what Spaith suggests that we think about:

  • Make It Relevant: If you are addressing a sales team, then spending time talking about the amazing singing career you had in the past won’t buy you any credibility. Instead, make your bragging relevant – tell them that you survived a trip down the Amazon and that you’ve been shot four times. Survival bragging would work well with this group.
  • It’s All Relative: The accomplishments or talents that you are bragging about have to be something that your audience can relate to. Telling everyone that you are an award winning professional ballroom dancer is great, but who can relate to that? If you tell everyone that you spent 10,000 hours on your feet in uncomfortable shoes practicing to become an award winning professional ballroom dancer, now that’s something that we can relate to.

How To Brag

Once you’ve established WHAT you’ll be bragging about, you need to nail down just HOW you’re going to go about doing it. First off, you need to get your bragging done at the start of your presentation – credibility is something that you need right off the bat. Next, you need to keep it long enough to build that credibility, but not too long. I’m going to say that a minute should be long enough and you might want to keep it even shorter.

You are going to want to write out and memorize your bragging words. It is so important to get these words just right – not too boastful, but at the same time not too self-deprecating.

Final Thoughts

Some of you might be a bit shy about bragging about yourself – get over it. You owe it to your audience to deliver the best presentation that you can and taking the time and effort to make sure that your message sinks in is part of this. Using carefully designed bragging to establish your “street cred” is an important part of any presentation that you give.

Questions For You

When you give a presentation, do you include bragging about yourself? Have you ever “gone over the top” and done too much bragging? Have you ever done too little bragging and not gotten the audience’s respect? Have you ever seen an introduction that established just the right amount of credibility for the speaker? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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What We’ll To Be Talking About Next Time

When we are given an opportunity to address a group, we spend a great deal of time preparing what we are going to say and how we are going to say it. This is all well and good, but we may be forgetting one critical factor: our audience may not be able to hear us speak…

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew Lightheart @alightheart July 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Hi Jim

Getting the intro right is indeed important and often challenging.

I wonder what you think about how much the intro needs to be about the speaker, and how much we answer the ‘Why should I bother listening?’ question with diving into extremely relevant content?

Reply

Dr. Jim Anderson July 2, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Andrew: excellent question. How about something like this: the perfect intro will start out by framing the “problem” that everyone wants to know more about how to solve and then will transition into why the speaker is the right person to listen to in order to learn how to solve this particular problem. Both parts are critical – the ying / yang of a good intro…

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